DTV e-Waste from Television Station Transmitters

The transition to digital television (DTV) will likely generate hundreds of tons of e-waste in the form of stations' old analog transmission equipment. Disposal of this equipment was never accounted for in industry or government DTV planning. Most of the equipment is towards the end of life-cycle and pending DTV transitions in Mexico and Canada are drying up what remains of the North American resale market.

Much of this gear probably contains hazardous substances, so recycling will be expensive. Components on towers are very costly to remove, but broadcasters who decide to leave it aloft unmaintained risk future liabilities from falling debris. And even when stations can find some way of getting their obsolete transmission equipment off premises, they have to be careful that improper disposal does not come back to haunt them.

Additional e-waste is likely to be generated from the removal of analog equipment from studios, postproduction suites, engineering cores, master control, etc.

More on the impact the the global DTV transition.